Bilderberg 2022: Back from Lockdown. Part 2: The Alt-Media Fails Again…
By Will Banyan (Copyright © 18 September 2022)
The paucity of mainstream media coverage about this year’s Bilderberg meeting, due in large part to the successful suppression of its start date and location until the conference was underway, was also replicated by the so-called “alt-media.” Despite the US location, barely a handful of alt-media representatives and anti-Bilderberg activists turned out to loiter near the barriers outside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel – there was no Alex Jones barking bombastically into his megaphone – naturally this limited the on-the-ground reporting. Another factor affecting coverage, besides the late notice, was that the broader pandemic driven obsession with Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Great Reset” had reduced interest in Bilderberg. The result was that most alt-media reporting amounted to no more than cursory analyses of the press release and standard denunciations of Bilderberg. More troubling was the failure of the alt-media to even notice, let along examine, the detailed insider accounts provided by some journalists who were participants at this year’s meeting. This occurred despite many of these alt-media commentators accusing those same journalists of being complicit in the Bilderberg “media blackout.”
The ‘Alt-Media’ Speculative Spectacle
Absent any real-time reporting from the inside, “alt-media” coverage of this year’s Bilderberg meeting fixated on familiar themes: Bilderberg “secrecy”; the elite pedigree of Bilderberg participants; the mainstream media’s suppression of Bilderberg news; Bilderberg’s “globalist” agenda; and its relationship to the WEF. Australian magazine New Dawn (Jul-Aug 2022, p.5), for example, had a brief report on the “top-level gathering” held by the “ultra-secretive Bilderberg Group” at the “luxurious Mandarin Oriental Hotel” in Washington DC. Bilderberg meetings, noted New Dawn, “are never discussed by the mainstream media and only rarely acknowledged.” ZeroHedge (Jun. 04, 2022) claimed that participants in the “super secretive, Bilderberg meeting” were going to “discuss how the shape the world while perpetuating a status quo that has been highly beneficial for a select few.” Nothing good, though, would come of this:
Ultimately, what is decided will never see the light of day, though it will emerge as official policy that helps serve the Bilderberg elite. And if history is any indicator, it will only worsen the current global situation.
Paul Joseph Watson of Summit News, complained on social media that Bilderberg was “secretly meeting” in Washington DC, but “not a single major media outlet has reported on it.” Watson followed up a with a three-minute YouTube rant about Bilderberg receiving “zero press scrutiny”, despite its history of impacting world events, such as delaying the US invasion of Iraq, helping develop the Euro single currency, discussing the 2008 financial collapse before it happened, and grooming future world leaders such as Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Angela Merkel.
Daily Wire commentator Kim Iverson complained the public was ignorant of Bilderberg because “the meetings are conducted in secret, without any press.” She also expressed skepticism about the supposedly benevolent purpose of the meeting:
Oh sure, so, democratically elected policymakers and other government chiefs who work on the taxpayers dime go and sip cocktails behind closed doors in a luxurious hotel discussing important matters such as war, global alliances, pandemic responses and disinformation with the corporate billionaire class all weekend in secret, without the press. But don’t worry they’re doing it as private citizens so it’s okay because what they discuss probably won’t affect us, right?
Taking a similar line was Substack writer Threadsirish, (Jun. 03, 2022), who observed that “little has been mentioned of the Bilderberg meeting that is taking place in Washington”, but we should be “bothered and concerned” because “the Bilderberg meetings are highly significant.” Threadsirish also suggested Bilderberg is in “many respects…of far greater importance” than the WEF, because Bilderberg participants “will be planning the future.”
The Naked Emperor, also on Substack, claimed that despite media participation, there was “a complete blackout as to the very existence of the meeting” and because of the Chatham House Rules “we will never find out what has been discussed.” Looking at the agenda, The Naked Emperor suggested the “chaos we can all feel is also being felt by the globalists.” He also explored Bilderberg’s links to the WEF:
This has taken place shortly after the World Economic Forum’s…get together in Davos. Henry Kissinger is said to have an important role in guiding the WEF agenda and indeed there is a massive overlap in the issues discussed there and at Bilderberg. Many of the Bilderberg attendees are also WEF members (emphasis added).
The RAIR Foundation USA1 in its report on the Bilderberg meeting, described the conclave as “one of the most influential gatherings in the world”; a “secret summit of the global elite”, that is “considered to be the birthplace of ideas ranging from free trade agreements such as NAFTA to the creation of the European Union.” RAIR’s correspondent, Amy Mek, also helpfully observed that: “Many believe that the meeting’s participants will be chosen to implement a ‘new world order’ which globalists have openly bragged about for years.” Mek even drew a link between the “new world order” and the WEF’s Great Reset, the latter being “the proposed mechanism for setting a New World Order in motion.”
Steve Byas, a program director of history at Randall University in Oklahoma, writing for the John Birch Society’s magazine, The New American (Jun. 04, 2022), observed how:
A secretive international organization of some of the most important “movers and shakers” from North America and Europe are meeting this weekend to “foster dialogue” on issues that affect the lives of American citizens, as well as those of citizens in Europe and the rest of North America.
Analyzing Bilderberg’s official explanation for its meetings, Byas interpreted the claim that participants are merely there to “gather insights” as being code for “they are told what the globalist position is on the various issues that are discussed.” Looking at the agenda for this meeting, Byas was sure that participants would soon be “parroting the ‘insights’ they have ‘gathered’ at this conference on issues such as ‘disinformation,’ trade, post-pandemic health, ‘sustainability,’ and NATO ‘challenges’.”
A short article on Alex Jones’ Infowars gave a perfunctory account on how “the secretive organization that controls the Davos Group and the entire globalist takeover”, was now “secretly meeting in Washington, DC.” In a separate video, a somewhat preoccupied Alex Jones gave a rambling discourse on the origins and motives of Bilderberg, and even claimed the WEF was the “mouthpiece of the Bilderberg Group.” Jay Dyer of Jay’s Analysis gave a lengthy account, that focused on the press’s supposed failure to acknowledge Bilderberg’s existence. Infowars also carried a piece from the Information Liberation website by Chris Menhahan that complained about the “total media blackout” of this year’s Bilderberg meeting, with “no significant Google News-approved Western media outlets are reporting on it.” Of note, though, was the presence of “arch-neocon Anne Applebaum who has been organizing the US proxy war in Ukraine in concert with the Zelensky regime.”
a popular target of conspiracy theorists claiming Bilderberg members secretly work with the Illuminati, the Freemasons or a cabal of shape-shifting lizards founded by the ancient Babylonian sorceress Semiramis.
Fortunately, “[b]ack in reality”, there were other explanations for its rise, such as the allegation, endorsed at length by The Trumpet, that Bilderberg co-founder Joseph Retinger was in fact “an agent of the Vatican” who had once been expelled from multiple countries on suspicion of “helping the superior-general of the Jesuits, Wlodimir Ledóchowski, to plot the creation of a Central Europe Catholic federation.”
Taking a different approach in a widely circulated piece, commentator Pepe Escobar feigned indifference as to what was actually discussed at Bilderberg, pointedly rejecting the idea of waiting for “Bilderberg morsels dispensed by The Economist.” He also sought to downplay Bilderberg’s importance, portraying it as a messaging service:
One of my top New York sources, with direct access to most of the Masters of the Universe, loves to quip that Davos and Bilderberg are just for the messenger boys: the guys who really run the show don’t even bother to show up, ensconced in their uber-private meetings in uber-private clubs, where the real decisions are made (emphasis added).
But like so many others, he also speculated on a Bilderberg-WEF link, suggesting that Bilderberg’s “diverse group” would be discussing “what will really happen in case they force the IMF racket to blow up (a key plan to implement The Great Reset, or ‘Great Narrative’).”
A sharper dissent came from Daniel Estulin. Despite having made his name (and possibly a fortune) with his million-selling book The True Story of the Bilderberg Group (2005) that described Bilderberg as a “shadow world government” (p.xiv); a claim duplicated in his recent film Bilderberg: The Movie (2017) that was carried on Jeff Bezos’ Amazon Prime Video streaming service; Estulin was dismissive of the entire affair.2 In a tweet sent out soon after the meeting commenced Estulin declared:
Many people have sent me information about the Bilderberg 2022 meeting. Today’s Bilderberg is like the old glories of rock. Old fashioned, irrelevant and out of ideas. It was once a meeting of heavyweights. Today is the meeting of the laughing stock. They do not paint anything in the new world. Bye (emphasis added).
In another tweet, concerning people who were learning about Bilderberg for the first time, Estulin again disparaged the meeting it as both old news and irrelevant:
Compared to Estulin’s disdain, the American Free Press remained convinced of Bilderberg’s importance, contributing a range of commentary on the event. AFP Managing Editor Paul Angel, for example, claimed that Bilderberg’s lack of transparency about the meeting was deliberate and driven by “concerns that protesters would once again show up to picket and show their concern for global elites meeting in private to discuss their plans for the future of the world” (AFP, Jun. 02, 2022) According to AFP commentator John Friend, the purpose of Bilderberg is “clearly” to “coordinate the global power elite and to set agendas for the furtherance of globalist initiatives and priorities” (AFP, Jun. 04, 2022).
And, of course, the AFP’s “Roving Editor”, Mark Anderson, also contributed his views in two pieces in the print edition of American Free Press (Jun. 13 & 22, 2022). Clearly bereft of any inside sources in the Bilderberg meeting and seemingly incapable of duplicating the late Jim Tucker’s strategy of developing sources among hotel employees, Anderson could only heap impotent scorn on the “globalist confab” and “deal-making conference” (p.22). The “infamous” Bilderberg meetings had “supposedly” been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, claimed Anderson, although he could offer no other reason for the delay or his skepticism. Nevertheless, this Bilderberg meeting had “an especially interesting 14-item agenda” and its attendee list was “loaded with many notables” (p.20).
The only exceptions to this speculative commentary were Josh Friedman, Max Blumenthal and Luke Rudkowski, who attempted to acquire some actual facts about what was happening on the other side of the barricades in Washington DC. The Grayzone’s Blumenthal issued a twitter thread noting his failed effort to “enter DC’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel, secret site of the Bilderberg Meeting” (Figure 1). He also lambasted the event as a “secretive de facto NATO meeting”; and accused its participants, “a who’s who of trans-Atlantic national security hawks, financial industry elites, Big Tech and Big Pharma titans, and pro-war pundits”, of meeting to “network & coordinate [without] public accountability.”
Friedman and Rudkowski from We Are Change attempted to talk to a number of participants after the meeting, though most refused to discuss it. Austrian banker, Andreas Triechl, for example, currently Chairman of the ERSTE Foundation, confronted at Washington DC’s international airport did answer one question about the global financial situation confirming that it was “pretty bad” and a “serious situation” and they had to be “extremely careful” so “people in Europe…don’t suffer from that.” But when asked if there was a consensus on this at Bilderberg, Triechl declined to answer insisting it was a “private meeting.”
Another alt-media outlier was the Swedish “right wing” publication Nya Tider (New Times), which carried a range of reporting and commentary on the “infamous globalist lobby organization the Bilderberg Group.” Nya Tider’s primary achievement was to obtain through a Freedom Of Information request documents concerning Swedish Minister of Social Affairs Lena Hallengren’s participation at this year’s meeting. Besides noting that Hallengren’s official schedule for her trip to the US engaged in a “cover up” of her participation at Bilderberg, Nya Tider obtained a copy of her Bilderberg invitation. Of note was the fact that her invitation had been at the suggestion of Sweden’s leading businessmen, SEB chairman and Bilderberg Steering Committee Marcus Wallenberg. And that participants were “requested to treat the invitation, location and dates as confidential”, which was evidence of Bilderberg’s “fear of the information reaching the public.”
The Myth of the Silenced Bilderberg Journalist
When syndicated columnist Westbrook Pegler, widely and inaccurately credited with having “exposed Bilderberg in 1957” (Jim Tucker’s Bilderberg Diary, p.2),3 first wrote about the Bilderberg Group, he not only established key elements of conspiracist lore by portraying Bilderberg as a “secret huddle” of “superstate architects and monetary schemers” (The Spokesman-Review, Apr. 10, 1957), but he also took aim at those journalists who attended Bilderberg and failed to report on it. The primary target of Pegler’s ire was Ralph McGill, the Editor of the Atlanta Constitution, who had attended the February 1957 Bilderberg meeting held on St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. Pegler reported that he had spoken to McGill who confirmed his attendance at the “weird conclave” on St. Simon’s Island, but McGill “had not thought the occasion required him, as a journalist, to write anything.” Moreover: “Ralph said he divested himself of his journalistic nature for the conference and wanted me to treat his discussion confidentially.” But Pegler was having none of this:
But, after all, I was phoning him as a reporter to get information, whereas he had made some mental and ethical arrangement with himself which allowed him to dejournalize himself for this…
McGill and Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times, were the only journalists invited to this thing and I observed to Ralph that it was pretty funny that with so many thousands of reports and professional opionarians in this country, this conference tagged only those two and no others and they suppressed the story.
Years later McGill would finally write about his Bilderberg experiences, insisting that the results of this “informal meeting and off-the-record discussions…were excellent” indeed the “strength of the West was increased”; whilst heaping vitriol on an unnamed “extreme right-wing writer” who “saw something sinister in such a meeting” (Eugene-Register Guardian, Sep. 12, 1964). But McGill’s belated intervention was to no avail, for Pegler had established as a truism within the conspiratorial lore of Bilderberg that any journalist who participates in a meeting is forbidden to report on what they have witnessed at the elite conclave.
Indeed, it was a feature of much of the commentary around this year’s meeting: “Journalists are not allowed to report on the event, though some attend as participants” claimed Breitbart; “Journalists are not allowed to report on the event even though some attend as invitees”, according to the Western Standard News; “The media is not allowed to participate,” claimed Nya Tider, except for the trusted journalists and editors who have been invited, and who are not allowed to write anything about the meeting” (emphasis added). Dutch journalist and lawyer, Laura Slot condemned the “handful of ‘journalists” who participate in the Bilderberg meetings but are “completely silent afterwards” (Figure 2). Pepe Escobar explained that the reason for this silence is that “Bilderberg follows Chatham House Rules” meaning that “none of the participants will be allowed to talk about it with anyone else.”
This assumption has fed into specific claims that despite the presence of the eight journalists at this year’s get-together “none of them have reported on the meeting” (Stuart J. Hooper, Cameron University) because “they – and Bilderberg – don’t want you to know about it” (Paul Anthony Taylor, Dr. Rath Health Foundation). Nya Tider asserted that “no less than five editors of well-known newspapers such as the British The Economist were present” at Bilderberg, but “they chose not to write a word about the matter.” One of the journalist participants, Shashank Joshi from The Economist, was even pilloried on Twitter for his apparent failure to report on the meeting:
Despite the confidence behind these denunciations, readers might be surprised to learn that such assertions are wrong. To be sure, Bilderberg rules forbid accredited journalists from attending; journalists must attend in a personal capacity. The rule is explicitly confirmed on the Bilderberg Meetings Official Website:
But this does not prevent journalists who are invited to participate in a private capacity from reporting on the meeting, provided they abide by the Chatham House Rule that: “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.” I recently asked Bilderberg’s media representative about this issue and they provided the following response:
From the very early days of Bilderberg, media representatives have been personally invited to participate in the meeting. All such personal invitations have been extended to include their personal views and comments about one or more topics in the panel discussions.
Afterwards, all such reporters have been always allowed to write about the topics discussed at the respective meeting(s) and/or to include knowledge gained at Bilderberg in their reports – as long as they respected Chatham House rule. This means that while they are free to use the information received, neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor that of any other participant, may be revealed (Email Sep. 13, 2022, emphasis added).
According to most of the alt-media pundits reviewed above, this does not happen, but a closer look turns up various accounts from participants that cite a Bilderberg meeting as the source. One of the better examples are these articles4 from Financial Times journalist Martin Wolf giving his reflections on the 2003, 2004 and 2006 Bilderberg Meetings:
A more significant repudiation to this alt-media factoid comes from three European journalists who were participants at this year’s Bilderberg meeting – Stefano Feltri (Domani, Jun. 06, 2022), Martin Krasnik (Weekendavisen, Jun. 09, 2022), and Kaius Niemi (Helsingin Sanomat,Jun. 19, 2022) – and all of whom provided detailed accounts of their experiences at Bilderberg (see Figure 3). Moreover, each alluded to the Chatham House Rule to explain their reporting: “you can use the information but not attribute it directly” (Feltri); “participants can make use of the information they receive, provided neither the speaker nor his nor his or her organization is identified” (Niemi); and “one should not quote so people can be identified” (Krasnik). A rule they all followed (with some exceptions), never naming those participants whose opinions were included in their reports.
And yet, none of the alt-media journalists, conspiracists, and activists has even noticed, let alone analyzed, these articles. Instead most of the usual suspects, such as Charlie Skelton, Mark Anderson, Alex Jones, Luke Rudkowski, Kim Iverson, and new Bilderberg chaser Max Blumenthal, have ignored these articles. On the contrary, days after his piece was published Feltri was falsely accused of failing to report about his experience at Bilderberg; “No newspaper talks about the Bilderberg meeting”, claimed one twitter user, with Feltri “present as a guest, NOT as a journalist.” An exasperated Feltri replied:
Feltri’s response was hardly unwarranted. Back in 2019, when Bilderberg was meeting in Montreux, Switzerland, Charlie Skelton (then writing for both the Guardian and Newsweek) had attacked Feltri, then Deputy Editor-in-Chief for Il Fatto Quotidiano, for being “embedded” at Bilderberg. Skelton also mocked Feltri for being one of the “journalists there reporting on the summit”, adding that he “Can’t wait to read the piece, Stefano!”
Except that Feltri did produce a piece, as he noted in his reply to Skelton:
Feltri went on to publish an account of his first Bilderberg meeting in Il Fatto Quotidiano (Jun. 04, 2019). But for some reason, despite his constant demands for more transparency from Bilderberg, Skelton completely ignored Feltri’s article. Also missing Feltri’s piece was William F. Jasper, editor of The New American, who wrote an angry screed that criticized Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle for failing to report on her Bilderberg experience: “we’ve waited more than a week to hear from McArdle about her glorious outing with the great and the good at the most exclusive and secretive club on the planet: Bilderberg.” McArdle may not have published anything, but as I noted at the time, Feltri, Martin Wolf, and Turkish academic Selva Demiralp had each published articles recording their observations at Bilderberg. Jasper, nevertheless, made the patently false claim that all the journalists who attended Bilderberg had “kept their silence.”
Now in 2022 pattern repeats itself: the alt-media and conspiracists accuse Bilderberg of silencing its journalist participants; but when some of those same journalists actually report on the Bilderberg meeting, these reports are completely ignored by the same alt-media and conspiracists who claimed that media participants have been silenced. This devotion to the conspiratorial narrative of silenced or complicit journalists first established by Pegler in the 1950s, no matter what the facts are, might be profitable for some or merely an inescapable ideological requirement. But for those with a serious interest in the subject, ignoring these accounts makes no sense, given that these reporters seem to be providing the information so many Bilderberg-watchers claim to be seeking…
To be concluded in Part 3
1 The RAIR Foundation USA – (Rise Align Ignite Reclaim) – describes itself as a “grassroots activist organization comprised of everyday Americans leading a movement to reclaim our Republic from the network of individuals and organizations waging war on Americans, our Constitution, our borders and our Judeo-Christian values.” RAIR’s opponents are identified as “Islamic supremacists, radical leftists and their allies.”
2 Estulin’s odd position on Bilderberg is part of pattern evident since 2015 when he began to swing between either endorsing or rejecting the conspiratorial allegations about Bilderberg made in his book The True Story of the Bilderberg Group (2005). Interviewed by Signs of the Times in 2015, for example, Estulin seemed to distance himself from the wilder claims he had made about Bilderberg, stating:
“I think it’s obvious, the fact that you and I are talking about Bilderberg should basically exclude them from being very, very important because truly important people and organizations absolutely are unknown to the general humanity and nobody writes bestsellers about them.”
But in 2016 Estulin seemed to have no problem being described by the Epoch Times (in an article that was pulled from the website for reasons unknown, much to Estulin’s chagrin) as a “leading voice for those who believe the Bilderberg Group has a greater impact on our lives than any official governing body in the world.”
Estulin’s current indifference to Bilderberg also seems to be at odds with the publicity material for Bilderberg: The Movie, a documentary that he both wrote and produced, that was released in 2016, and is now streaming on Amazon Prime. According to the film’s website, Bilderberg: The Movie is “a documentary film about the origins, development and expansion of one of the most elitist and secret organizations in today’s world: The Bilderberg Group.” In the promotional material Estulin writes how he discovered that “world politics are not decided at the ballot boxes but in opulent hotels by a small but very powerful group of people”, and how his movie “provides a fascinating account of the annual meetings of the world’s most powerful people – the Bilderberg Group.” The site refers to an event, billed as “An Evening with Estulin” that was to take place in May 2017, which included the movie, book and presumably Estulin himself. And as recently as July 2022, Estulin was still spruiking signed copies of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group.
3 In his largely unimpressive and factually challenged The Bilderberg Group: Facts & Fiction (2015), conservative alt-media gadfly Mark Dice makes the extraordinary claim that it was Pegler who “published the first article on the Bilderberg Group” (p.17), when he commented on the Bilderberg meeting held earlier in 1957 St. Simon’s Island in Georgia. But this claim is plainly wrong for a number of reasons. First both the New York Times (Feb. 16 & Feb. 19, 1957) and the Washington News (Feb. 14, 1957) presented short but detailed reports on the meetings, months ahead of Pegler’s alleged scoop. Second, both sets of articles referred to the gathering as the “Bilderberg group”, a key detail missing from Pegler’s first article that was not corrected until his follow-up piece drawing on one of the New York Times articles (as read into the Congressional Record). Given his failure to uncover any new information about Bilderberg, Pegler’s only really achievement was to be the first to portray the “secret” meeting as a sinister event, a worthy subject of suspicion.
4 These Martin Wolf columns are from the following issues of the Financial Times: May 23, 2003; Jun. 23, 2004; and Jun. 14, 2006.